It was a genius plan, a fool proof one, even. The problem wasn't that Ayen was a fool, though. The problem was that Waylon wasn't a fool. Which meant that sending Keyleth in to trap him was probably a terrible idea. Especially once Ayen realized that Keyleth had no experience whatsoever with men.
The plan involved staking out the edge of Greeley district in all of the places most likely for Waylon to show. After four days, they found that Waylon nearly always appeared within the same block, but when Ayen went to investigate, he couldn't figure out where the hell he was coming from. So the part of the plan where they kicked in Waylon's door had to be scrapped for the ingenious plan B.
So they waited for Waylon to show and then they ambushed him. Ayen expected that Keyleth would throw him off, and she did, but when she fumbled her way through just the worst flirtation Ayen had ever heard it became clear to everyone that this plan was a complete trainwreck.
"So, uh," Keyleth blushed, fluttering her eyes dramatically. They had dressed her up in a gown of midnight blue, that was definitely absolutely stolen, and her too red hair was tied up according to the latest fashion or at least in the best attempt Ayen could make. They figured at least Waylon would try to pick her pocket and at best he would try to convince her to take him home so he could rob her there instead. It might have worked if Keyleth's idea of flirting didn't involve the words, "Have you ever been arrested?"
Waylon hesitated in what had been an attempt to approach the young lady. "Pardon?"
"Because it must be illegal to be that handsome," she said with a painfully nervous smile. Ayen smacked himself in the forehead. This had to be the worst plan he'd ever had. He would have been less suspicious despite Waylon knowing his intentions.
Waylon chuckled. He stood, arms crossed, hip cocked to the side. Ayen held his breath. Had she done it somehow? He couldn’t be that stupid.
"Take a walk with me, dear," he said. He offered Keyleth his arm. She took it and let him lead her from the street. Ayen followed along from the rooftops. It took a bit of maneuvering to get across the street where he could see and he prayed he wouldn't be too late if Waylon decided to stab her.
He found them in an alley, empty aside from an old door that leaned against a wall and a few rotted out wooden crates. Keyleth was giggling, her whole face beet red. They were out of the way of any potential passersby and there was nowhere for Waylon to run.
Ayen climbed down the side of the building clinging to the windowpane below. His feet hit the ground and Waylon turned to him instantly. His hair seemed to radiate moonlight. He was dressed splendidly as if going out for a night on the town or meeting a lover who would likely turn up dead in the morning.
"I was certain this was you," he smirked.
Ayen offered him a matching smile as he reached into his pocket. "This time I brought handcuffs."
This did nothing to shake Waylon's confidence and Ayen couldn't blame him after his previous lackluster attempts to catch him. "What makes you think this time will be different?"
Keyleth was kind enough to show off her new dagger by pressing it against Waylon's neck. Of course, the woman had made it very clear that she is adamantly against murder, but they both agreed that Waylon didn't have to know that.
It was all too easy for Waylon to slip away from Keyleth, but they had expected that. All they needed was to get him backed into a corner. Ayen put himself between Waylon and the opening of the alley. Each drew their blades. Again, they had no weapons for combat, but this time that worked to Ayen's advantage. Every move he made forced Waylon to back away to avoid his blade. Keyleth moved in just enough to keep Waylon from forcing Ayen back in return. Between the two of them, Waylon could only retreat.
Waylon's eyes scanned the alley, but there was no easy way out. The only way to go was back and back until he hit the wall, surrounded. His eyes narrowed at Ayen.
"Are you really going to do this?" His mouth was set into a deep frown. There was something in his eye when he looked from Ayen to Keyleth and back, but he hadn’t done all of this to walk away now.
"How many people have you killed, Waylon? It's hard for me to feel bad. It'll be even harder once I'm counting my reward money." He forced himself to believe it, to ignore the voice of morality that nagged at the back of his mind.
"I never killed anyone that mattered if it helps." Waylon put on a smile.
"What bothers me is that you believe that."
"No sense in pretending this is about justice is there?" Waylon looked between them again. He stared a moment too long at Keyleth, long enough that Ayen found himself stepping just slightly between them.
"Drop your weapon,” he ordered.
Waylon released his grip and the short sword clattered against the cobblestone. He offered his hands to Ayen. "I do hope you'll bring flowers to my grave, Ayen Fenfir."
He snapped the cuffs around his wrists, taken aback by the sound of his chosen name. He gave it to so few and when he did, it was just ‘Ayen’. When had he told it to Waylon? He hated the way that he said it. As if he liked the way it tastes. As if it belonged in his mouth.
He marched him down the street, still pondering this as they walked. Waylon was unusually silent and it weighed on him. Of course the man wouldn't be chipper about being arrested or about a trial that would inevitably end in his execution, but somehow Ayen thought it would feel different. He was supposed to feel accomplished, proud, anything other than miserable. As they reached the guard outpost on the edge of Greeley, Ayen considered letting him go and making a break for it, but he had promised to free Keyleth of her debts and after the destruction at the vineyard she needed this now more than ever.
He was nauseous. His hands shook. Yet, he handed Waylon over the guards. They knew him instantly. Three of them walked Waylon to the city jail in the most chilling procession. Ayen and Keyleth followed, silent as ghosts. As they handed over their reward, Keyleth beamed. Ayen didn't even look at it.
"Is it all there?" he said. He swallowed. His throat felt thick.
Keyleth looked the money over. "Seems to be. Not really sure who we'd complain to if it wasn't."
"Fine. Let's get out of here." He went back outside and looked up at the stars. When he closed his eyes, he heard the rustling of trees and smelled the stench of death, but that moment in his life had long since passed. This was different. It wasn't his fault if a murderer saw justice for what he had done. It wasn't his fault that Waylon had worked so hard to get under his skin. Ayen wasn’t the one that did this to him. Leading him to his death was not his burden.
"Ayen?" Keyleth's voice called him back to reality. "Are you alright?"
He ignored the question. "You can stay with me tonight, it's a long walk back to the vineyard. We'll deal with Tybee in the morning."
To her credit, she said nothing. She followed along behind him, but left him to his thoughts. He spent the night on the couch staring up at the ceiling going back and forth over what he had done.
Ayen Fenfir is no common elf, but that won't stop him from pretending to be one as he tries to hide from his past. Life as a criminal isn't easy, but when Ayen sees the bounty for turning in an assassin, known as 'The Angel', he finds himself caught between romance and a chance to retire from his life of crime. 'Don't try your luck in West Catoig' is what they always say, but Ayen has yet to discover just how unlucky West Catoig is for its more humble citizens.